Prince Andrew’s lawyers say accuser Virginia Giuffre ‘may suffer from false memories’

Lawyers also want to examine notes taken by Virginia Giuffre’s psychologist during talk sessions

Lamiat Sabin
Saturday 15 January 2022 19:01
Prince Andrew’s civil case: What is alleged and what happens next?

Prince Andrew’s lawyers say they want to quiz Virginia Giuffre’s psychologist as they call into question her credibility in the sex abuse lawsuit against the royal.

The Duke of York’s legal team is alleging that Ms Giuffre, who is seeking damages in the US, could be relying on “false memories” to accuse him of sexual abuse when she was a minor under US law in the early 2000s.

Andrew’s lawyers are seeking witness accounts from her husband Robert Giuffre and psychologist Dr Judith Lightfoot, according to recently published court documents.

Ms Giuffre, now 39, is suing the duke for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She claims she was trafficked by his friend, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with Andrew when she was 17. The duke has strenuously denied the allegations.

The lawyers argue in new court documents that Ms Giuffre “may suffer from false memories”, and claim that Dr Lightfoot should be examined on the “theory of false memories” as well as other topics the pair have discussed during their sessions.

They also want to examine any notes taken, and ask about prescriptions the doctor has written for Ms Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre is suing the duke for allegedly sexually assaulting her

In regards to her husband Robert, they want to question how the pair met in 2002 and to query the state of their household finances.

The lawyers are asking for the witnesses’ testimonies by 29 April “or as soon thereafter as is possible”.

It is expected that Ms Giuffre’s husband and the psychologist, both residents of Australia, would be requested to be examined under oath – either in person or by video link.

Andrew’s lawyers have requested that the US court sends letters to the Central Authority of Australia – part of the Australian attorney-general’s department – to ask for help in obtaining the testimonies.

Earlier this week, a judge rejected the lawyers’ motion to dismiss the sex abuse case and ruled that it can go to a trial which is scheduled to take place between September and December.

Ms Giuffre’s lawyers are requesting testimonies from Robert Olney – Andrew’s former equerry, a royal’s personal assistant – and a woman called Shukri Walker, who claims to have seen the duke in Tramp nightclub in London, where Ms Giuffre said she went with him in 2001.

Files submitted by Ms Giuffre’s legal team say that Mr Olney’s name appears under “Duke of York” in a phone book that belonged to the now-deceased Mr Epstein.

Her lawyers claim this means it is likely Mr Olney has relevant information about Andrew’s travel to and from Epstein’s properties during the time Ms Giuffre alleges that he abused her.

The documents say Ms Walker has stated publicly that she was a witness to Andrew’s presence at Tramp nightclub with a young woman who may have been Ms Giuffre.

Ms Giuffre claims Andrew had sex with her against her will at the London home of Epstein’s close associate Ghislaine Maxwell, and at Epstein’s mansion on the upper east side of Manhattan.

A photograph emerged of Andrew, Ms Giuffre and Maxwell at the latter’s London townhouse on one of the dates that Ms Giuffre alleged the royal had abused her.

Maxwell was convicted last month of sex trafficking and conspiracy, after recruiting and grooming teenage girls for Epstein to abuse.

She will be sentenced on 28 June, US district judge Alison J Nathan announced on Friday.

Ms Giuffre also alleges that Andrew abused her on another occasion during a visit to Epstein’s private island, Little St James, and on a separate occasion at Epstein’s mansion in Manhattan.

On Friday, the Queen stripped Andrew of his remaining patronages and honorary military roles. He also faced calls to pay for his own security.

In a BBC Newsnight interview in 2019, Andrew said that the alleged sex with Ms Giuffre “didn’t happen”, and that he had “no recollection” of meeting her.

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